This weekend, instead of our usual routine of sitting around Lionel's dining room table and playing Arkham Horror, the PlatinumChick and I headed down for a mini-vacation before she finally begins her Masters' degree program at Wright State. As such, I figured I'd share some of the details here...
We began with something of some hectic errand-running before heading down through Cincinnati towards Newport-on-the-Levee, in Kentucky. I had never been in this region before, aside from a brief field trip to the Reds' Stadium two years prior. I was rather impressed at the set-up to be had down there, as the area felt like an outdoor piazza, complete with street vendors and the like, in amongst the upscale bistros and such.
Jules had been wanting to head to Newport Aquarium for quite a while, so I didn't disappoint--it was our first stop. The aquarium itself, though, was something of a disappointment. A few years ago, when we had spent spring break in Gatlinburg, we had spent an afternoon at the impressive Ripley's Aquarium, which was a pleasant treat--I hadn't expected an exhibition by the infamous "Ripley's Believe it or Not!" to be so well constructed and thought out. However, Newport Aquarium was something of a let-down by comparison. Jules' big thrust for seeing Newport again was their new "Frog Bog" exhibit, which was much vaunted. In reality, though, it was a tiny exhibit aimed mainly at children, with no more actual frogs than your average pet store.
After the aquarium, we walked around the plaza for a while before settling on a Brio Tuscan Grille for dinner. We were not disappointed in any sense. Coming just before the dinner rush, we were seated quickly just off of the main dining room. We began the meal with a pitcher of Mango Bellini--a light, margarita type drink made with prosecco--and an order of Bruschetta Caprese, which was everything one could hope from in a bruschetta: fragrent, delicate, and bursting with flavor.
Jules enjoyed a meal of chicken with a butternut squash risotto, which filled her up nearly to bursting, while I indulged my fetish for pesto. My pasta came in a creamy pesto sauce, coupled with roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh buffalo mozzerella. I often joke that when I've had a good meal--usually at Jeet--I waddle out of the place. I was waddling, coming out of Brio. Stuffed with enough garlic to kill a dozen vampires, we headed north of the city and found ourselves a room.
Today, we slept in at the hotel (in a massive king size bed!), before heading out for two places with a uniqueness all their own: Ikea and Jungle Jim's.
Now, I've been to an Ikea before. When one moved into Moon Township, just outside of Pittsburgh International Airport, my parents jumped on it with both feet. I may not have been able to enjoy it then, but now? My how times have changed.
Jules and I had been searching for a hanging wall-organizer for years, with no luck. Now, we have one, which was apparently dubbed "Luns".
An aside...Ikea amuses me to no end. I'm not sure whether it's a cognate thing or not, but many of their lines of furniture have human-esque names. Billy is a type of bookshelf, while Benno is the accompanying CD/DVD tower--apparently they're friends? However, they don't like Jeff the folding chair, and often talk behind his back to Hermann, the dining room chair.
I wish I was kidding. :D
After roaming around Ikea for the better part of 2-3 hours, we headed to Jungle Jim's to pick up some victuals. Jungle Jim's is like no other supermarket on earth. Specializing in organic foods and world cuisine, we go there to pick up kitchen supplies as well as Indian foodstuffs. This time, in addition to our usual foods, Jules picked up some sashimi grade tuna--looks like she'll be eating well for a while!
So, now we're back home with some new furnishings, quite a bit of relaxation, and some readiness for the coming week. Here's for hoping it'll be a quick one!